By Najib Ahmad, PhD
Thanks to the existing curriculum in Nigerian schools (its directions, objectives, and preferences), students who wholly rely on this system hardly possess any tangible skill, which would prepare them to become self-directed or independent or job providers. They can also barely avoid queueing the assembly of youths whose over-dependence on the government-provided jobs is noticeable countrywide. Any thoughtful country that cannot provide jobs for its youth population knows the gravity of its future, which may be bleak. Fortunately, this is not a lonesome fight for Nigeria. It is a common challenge bedevilling the world today from the Far East, West to the far South Mediterranean countries, including developed and developing parts of the world.
There is a lack of adequate jobs everywhere, possibly for several divergent reasons. It is shared treachery, especially with the continuing world’s economic meltdown due to many seen and unseen factors. So, as a Nigerian, please do not take it hard or shudder; imbibe water and relax a trifle because we are not alone in this mess. There may be an advantage to every saddle moment.
Since the beginning of Covid-19, some countries have imposed total or partial lockdown–longer or shorter. These changes in our lives have handicapped the economy of nations and shattered peoples’ economic stability. On and off, many countries are still struggling with lockdown, which eventually forces people to work from home. From reports, you can say that the pandemic exposes the profound weaknesses and causes alarming panic in many countries previously seen as organised and the superpowers (aka God’s own nations). As a result, many people lost their jobs even in those powerful countries. Schools, universities, laboratories, markets, factories, and businesses were all closed, places of work and worship across the world were abruptly shut.
Consequently, different governments and policymakers have realised how vulnerable conventional job systems are. Thus, they are implementing strategies and gradually understanding the need for robust, better approaches to tackle these unprecedented changes. Policymakers have recommended and implemented novel ideas to impact schools, business owners, and entrepreneurs in countries affected by this negative development to make the economy viable and uphold the economic stability of their citizens.
For instance, several schools and universities have switched to remote instruction, in other words, digital learning. Due to the compelling need for endurance, human beings are social creatures who resiliently adapt and quickly learn to familiarise themselves with any given circumstances. People with different essential skills grabbed advantages from the emergent changes. They include but are not limited to computer skills that allow you to carry out remote jobs–working from non-typical office space. Besides, they are the kinds of do-it-yourself skills; they are not the specific skills you can learn from the traditional vocational training school. Suppose the government has plans to train people in such specialisation through vocational training school. In that case, it is a potential task and could easily invigorate people’s economic stability and prepare youth for the path of independence.
Here are a few examples of remote jobs that you can do from any place: (a) Computer programming/Coding; (b) Web development/design and Android or iOS developer; (c) Data science; (d) Content writing, copywriting, copyediting, transcription, and translation; (e) Graphic design; (f) Digital marketing; (g) Video editing; and Virtual assistant, and so forth. Of course, these jobs existed before COVID-19. However, they took a new turn and became enormously popular since the onset of the outbreak, thanks to their necessity and worth in our everyday lives. Thus, the everlasting need cannot be trammelled.
And every person who has no prior computer science/technology diploma or degree can master these skills. It does not matter whether or not one is from science or non-science-based disciplines. All you need is an android/iOS phone, while some require a desktop or laptop computer. Above all, you also require determination in learning and mastering any of these skills. And the good thing is, they are now taught in many online learning platforms for free or for a cost as either certified short courses or nano-degree programs.
The paid access courses are not very expensive if you compare them with the value of what you will learn and its advantages afterwards. Sponsored by the tech giant companies and other government sectors like Microsoft, Google, European Commission, and Universities, platforms such as Udacity, Udemy, FutureLearn, and Coursera offer massive open online courses (free).
YouTube is similarly often graded as the best platform for learning anything; you can use the platform to learn any skill you wish. So if you are a book person, look for the best ones in your field, learn, and practice. Even some establishments from Nigeria are taking part in this skills acquisition training program for the youths, but you hardly see these opportunities discussed in northern Nigeria’s cyberspace. Recently, I encountered another scholarship announcement for a Nanodegree scholarship in many essential skills in varieties of disciplines, which Access Bank, Nigeria will sponsor.
Dr Najib Ahmad is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Shandong University, China. He can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.